Riding a bicycle is a healthy and efficient way to commute or enjoy a lazy afternoon. In a perfect world, cyclists wouldn’t have to worry about high-speed collisions. However, bicyclists aren’t alone on the road. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reports that roughly 1,000 bicyclists are struck by motor vehicles each year.
These accidents can have serious consequences. Bicyclists, who don’t enjoy the same amount of protection as motorists, can suffer from severe injuries. These accidents are even worse if the motorist involved was ignoring speed limits.
Bicycle accident victims have legal recourse, though. They’re permitted to pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit to receive compensation for their injuries. Compensation can help cover medical expenses and lost wages. An Asheville bicycle accident lawyer from our firm can evaluate your case.
Damages in a Bicycle Accident Case
Damages are the types of losses you can pursue compensation for after a bicycle accident. They include:
- Medical expenses: The CDC estimates that the US spends $23 billion on bicycle accidents this year. Medical expenses are a large portion of this total. In a bicycle accident case, you can receive compensation for surgery, medication, rehab, and other medical costs.
- Lost wages: Serious injuries don’t just cost a lot – they can also force you to take time off work. Lost wages are another pursuable damage in a bicycle accident claim.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering damages address the non-economic costs of a bicycle accident. Trauma, PTSD, and anxiety stemming from your accident can contribute to this toll.
- Property damages: Bicycles, while cheaper than most cars, aren’t cheap. If your bicycle was damaged or destroyed in your accident, you could qualify for additional compensation.
How Much Will I Receive?
Bicycle accidents take place in a range of contexts. This variability extends to settlements, too. The value of your claim or verdict will be impacted by:
- The type and severity of your damages
- The outcome of insurance negotiations or lawsuit
- The evidence involved in your case
These factors differ from case to case. A case that involves serious damages can still end in a lower settlement if insurance negotiations go sour, and vice versa.
A lawyer can advise you on the potential valuation of your case. This advice can prove useful when deciding to sign off on a claim. The more you know about the value of your case, the better. Case knowledge can help you identify low settlement offers and then push for a better outcome.
Do I Need to Hire a Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
You aren’t required by law to hire a lawyer if you’re pursuing a lawsuit or insurance claim. However, lawsuit and insurance proceedings are complex. During a lawsuit, you need to adhere to both:
- Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
- Local court rules – depending on the court relevant to your case
Failure to meet procedure requirements can tank your lawsuit before it’s started. Pro se litigants (those who are proceeding without a lawyer) are barred from pursuing a lawsuit if they cannot adhere to guidelines. Meeting these requirements necessitates expending time and energy to understand courtroom procedure – bicycle accident claimants are often short on both.
Insurance claims are similarly complex. Motor vehicle insurers are often aggressive – they’ll do their best to get you to settle as low as possible. To do so, they may:
- Use your recorded statements against you
- Look for evidence that proves that you were responsible for the accident
- Offer you a quick but low-value settlement
For these reasons, we advise against trying to handle your case alone. An Asheville bicycle accident lawyer from our firm can lift the weight of managing the aftermath of your accident off your shoulders. They can:
Investigate Your Case
Evidence is crucial in bicycle accident cases. The period directly after your accident is the best time to gather evidence – the details of the accident are fresh, and witnesses haven’t forgotten any specifics. Our team can focus their energy on gathering evidence to build your case, which can include:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Footage of the crash
- Images of your injuries and damaged bicycle
- Your medical records – used to show the extent of your injuries
- Crash reconstruction specialist testimonies
This evidence will be used to highlight negligence. Negligence, in a legal context, refers to unsafe behavior that jeopardized the safety of another party. In most bicycle accident cases, you need to prove that another party’s negligent behavior caused your accident. If you prove that they were negligent, they become liable for your injuries.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement
The negotiation process is tough. As already noted, insurers aren’t afraid to fight back. Lawsuits are similarly adversarial. To assist you with this part of the process, we will:
- Help you identify unfair settlement offers
- Push for the best settlement possible
- File a lawsuit, if needed
- Manage your communications with insurers and other relevant parties
Act as Your Legal Guide
Legal matters are rarely straightforward. That’s where we come in. Our Asheville bicycle accident lawyers are here to make your life easier. If you have questions, we have answers. We pride ourselves on providing prompt, easy-to-understand legal explanations as needed. You don’t need to worry about the nitty-gritty of your case alone.
The Benefit of Contingency Fees
Hiring a lawyer can be daunting. Prospective clients often wonder if it’s worth it to hire a lawyer; after all, they’re already dealing with a laundry list of expenses after their accident. We know how difficult managing a bicycle accident can be, though. For this reason, we provide our services on a contingency basis, which means that:
- We’ll review your case for free
- You don’t have to pay us anything upfront
- We only get paid if we win you a settlement
Contingency fees are paid out as a percentage of a final settlement award. Typically, the percentage of a settlement that a law firm receives is decided upon prior to someone signing on as a client. During your initial consultation, we can discuss the contingency fees associated with your case.
You’re Entitled to Legal Representation
Victims of bicycle accidents are entitled to legal representation. Bicycle accident cases are subject to North Carolina’s statute of limitations under G.S. §1-52, which provides a three-year deadline for personal injury lawsuits. The sooner you get started the better.
Whenever you’re ready, the lawyers at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC will be here to represent you. Contact our offices for a free no-obligation case evaluation, today.